Judge Finn Receives Prestigious Awards from Arizona Supreme Court and Maricopa Association of Governments

Glendale, Ariz. – Glendale Presiding Judge Elizabeth R. Finn has received the Arizona Supreme Court’s 2018 Judicial Branch Distinguished Service Award in the Chief Justice’s Outstanding Contribution to the Courts category, for outstanding service and contribution to the Arizona Judicial Branch. She was given this distinguished honor during the 2018 Arizona Judicial Conference on June 20.

“Judge Finn was selected based on her leadership and innovation on many initiatives that are important to the courts statewide that involve domestic violence, DUI and mental health issues, said Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales, “This award reflects not only what she’s done recently but what she’s done over her remarkable career as a judge.”

Judge Finn is also being recognized by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) as recipient of this year’s Desert Peaks Award for Professional Service. The Desert Peaks Award recognizes people, projects and partnerships that have demonstrated a commitment to regionalism. The Professional Services Award is presented to an individual from any organization who has significantly contributed to regionalism through sustained or outstanding professional efforts. The award will be presented at the Desert Peaks Award event on June 27.

“Many people spend their careers searching for a special meaning in their lives,” said Judge Finn. “Fortunately, being a judge has allowed me to fulfill my passions of improving the legal system for all including domestic violence survivors and the mentally ill.”

Judge Elizabeth (Ellie) R. Finn is Arizona’s longest-serving judge. Throughout her 39 years of service, she has been at the forefront of issues that affect the citizens of her court. She is among the state’s leading experts on domestic violence law and practices. She has also been a leader at finding ways to improve the handling of DUI cases. “Few people have done more than Judge Finn to advance justice for two special populations: victims of domestic violence and those suffering from mental health conditions,” said Court Administrator Chris Phelps. “Judge Finn has never met a leadership role she didn’t fully embrace with passion.”

Judge Finn is responsible for the launch of Arizona’s first city Domestic Violence Treatment Court program without probation resources and the management of over $1.5 million in domestic violence grant awards.

In 2013 she implemented a Mental Health Court at Glendale City Court. Her Court was one of two Supreme Court designated city courts to conduct their own mental competency hearings. The pilot resulted in legislation for all limited jurisdiction courts to preside over these proceedings. Judge Finn has been an active member of the American Bar Association National Conference of Specialized Court Judges, previously serving as its Chair, House of Delegate member and currently a member of the executive committee as well as many other ABA Committees.

Judge Finn chaired the Governor’s Office of Community and Highway Safety DUI Conference for Judges for twenty years. Among many other awards, Judge Finn was given an award of Merit with a Proclamation from Governor Jane Hull in 2005 honoring her work with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for her leadership on DUI and highway safety.

Her father, Herbert B. Finn, a Yale Law School graduate, is known for his civil rights work in a case that was a predecessor to the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case. Her mother, Ruth G. Finn, graduated summa cum laude in 1970 from the founding class of the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University. Continuing the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law tradition are Judge Finn (1972), Judge Finn’s sister, Alice Finn Gartell (summa cum laude 1989) and her son, Jesse Finn Turner (2005) making the family the first third generation family in the school’s history.

Selected Achievements:

• Past Dean of Supreme Court Judicial College of Arizona & of New Judge Orientation

• Main author of first Benchbook on Orders of Protection/Injunctions Against Harassment

• Chair of Domestic Violence Forms Workgroup

• Founding Member of West Valley Judicial Coalition

• Chair of Glendale Criminal Justice Group

• Founder and Chair of Glendale Domestic Violence Taskforce

• Franklin Flaschner Award, American Bar Association as outstanding limited jurisdiction judge in the nation (1998)

• James Walsh Award for outstanding judge, State Bar of Arizona (1999)

• Outstanding 100 Women & Minority Judges in Arizona’s History (2000)

• Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award (2002)

• Outstanding Woman of the Year in Public Sector, YWCA (2002)

• Award of Merit and a Proclamation from Governor Janet Napolitano for more than 25 years of service with Arizona Phoenix Opportunities Industrialization Center (2008)

• Citizen of the Year, National Association of Social Workers (2011)

• Judge Michael Ryan Award for Judicial Excellence, State Bar of Arizona (2013)

• Lifetime Achievement Award, Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence (2013)

• Inducted into Maricopa County Hall of Fame – making her and her father the first father daughter duo inducted (2015)


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